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Here’s How You Can Balance Martial Arts Training with Other Types of Exercise Part 2

3. Get up 15 minutes earlier
Getting up 15 minutes earlier is not hard. If you get up at 6:30am to go to work you will have no trouble getting up at 6:15am. And in those 15 minutes you can get a lot of work done.

For example, if you are struggling to find time to work on your kata or martial arts form then you can spend 15 minutes in the morning going over it again and again and again. Me and my mates used to do this in high school. We’d get up early before school, do the basic kata for 15 minutes straight and then run through each move once. While is doesn’t sound like much on paper it is a lot of work. It boosted our fitness levels and it sharped our technique such that our kata was always better than the other students in the class.

The same goes for kick boxing or boxing. If you want to work on your left roundhouse kick then get up 15 minutes early and throw 100 kicks into the heavy bag before breakfast. If you want to work on your left uppercut then do the same thing.

You can get a lot done in 15 minutes.

4. Write down a set routine
There is a tendancy for martial artists who are dabbling in other types of exercise to waft around for hours not really doing anything. For example, if you are lifting weights to improve your strength you should make sure your weight lifting session is as focussed as your martial arts session.

In a martial arts class there is a set routine. You come in, warm up, do the basic katas, basic moves and then maybe have a spar and go home. Why should the other exercises be any different?

If you want to get more done try writing down a routine and stick to it. Write down exactly what exercises you are going to do, how long you are going to do them for and so on. My friend Jack Richmond, writer at assignment writing service described this method for me.

5. Evaluate yourself all the time
If you are not improving every week then you are doing something wrong. It is very important to look back at what you have been doing and see if it has helped you with your goals.

If your goal is to get faster punches and your punches are the same as they were six weeks ago then you probably have been spending too much time doing those other types of exercise. This is a great way to determine how much you should be doing of any given exercise.

For example, if your kicks are the same as they were last month then you haven’t been doing enough kicking. If your fitness is the same as it was last month then you haven’t been doing enough cardio. And so on.

This also applies to establishing whether or not a routine has been working for you. For example, if you want to add some strength and have been doing a kettlebell workout for six months and seen few results then perhaps it is time to switch to heavy weights instead.

We must constantly evaluate ourselves and make changes.

Conclusion

I hope this helps to answer this question for you Wim. If anyone else has any questions they would like asked here on the blog then drop an email using the form

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Here’s How You Can Balance Martial Arts Training with Other Types of Exercise

It’s time again for another question and this one comes from long time reader Wim who asks:

“To train in martial arts is harder than most people think. You have to train your strength, you have to run and of course you have to train martial arts. So how does someone who has to work a full time job and raise kids balance their martial arts training with other types of exercise?”

Great question Wim. I know a lot of people will be struggling with this problems so I will share with you a few techniques that I have learned along the way.

How to balance martial arts training with other types of exercise

I think the source of this problem is Bruce Lee. It was Bruce Lee who popularised cross training with martial artists. Because of him every martial artist now lifts weights, runs, jumps rope, stretches as well as training their traditional kata or form. Back in the old days in China or Japan the martial artists pretty much just practiced their own art without these other types of exercise. Now, however, we feel the need to do all these other types of exercise to improve our martial arts skills.

Whether this is right or wrong I won’t touch on here.

What I will touch on are some thoughts I have on the matter of balancing your martial arts training with other types of exercise.

1. Realise that we don’t have as much time
Can you imagine a Shaolin Monk in ancient China getting up at 6am, feeding the kids, shaving, getting ready for work and then coming home and doing 6 hours of kung fu?

No.

It simply wasn’t like that back then. These monks were so good at kung fu because they dedicated their whole lives to training their art. They didn’t have families. They didn’t have jobs. They just trained and meditated.

We cannot do that.

So the first step is to realize that we don’t have as much time as the Shaolin monks or as millionaire celebrities like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris or Jet Li. With our limited time we can only work with what we are given. And if that is only one hour per day then we have to accept that.

2. Set your goals in stone
Martial artists often try to do too many things at once. They are good at many things but master of none. For example, a karate student might start lifting weights so that his legs are stronger but then realizes that he is spending more time lifting weights than he is training karate. When this happens it means you have lost sight of your goal.

If you write down your goal and always remember it then you will be less likely to lose your way.

For example, if you want to be the best kick boxer in the state then you must remember that kick boxing comes first. Weight training doesn’t come first. Running doesn’t come first. Kick boxing comes first. And while these other types of exercise will help you develop your kick boxing skills, they can also lead you astray.

Always make sure you devote more time to your establish goal than to the other types of exercise.

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8 of the Worst Foods for Your Health: How Many Have You Eaten This Week?

There are some foods that you really should never eat. They have a negative effect on your body and can lead to health problems, weight gain or even disease.

The question is: how many have you eaten this week?

1. French Fries
These deep fried treats are the favorite of many. They taste damn good but are one of the worst things you can put in your body. They have too much salt, saturated fat and many times trans fat. Too many of these and you will make yourself sick.

2. Meat
This is going to cause some debate, I can see it now. However, there is evidence to show that too much meat has a bad effect on the body. It has also been shown that if you eat meat everyday you are more likely to get cancer than if you lived on a vegetarian diet. Meat now-a-days has a lot of added hormones and chemicals that are used to make the animal grow faster so production can increase. It is not good for you at all.

The world has such a dependence on meat and it has become unhealthy. Many people eat meat three times a day and this is too much for the human body.

3. Coke
Coke is, for a lot of people, like water. However, it is high in sugar, sodium and is very bad for you. It causes a massive sugar rush and as such your body’s insulin levels get screwed around.

4. Doughnuts
Have you ever thought about how a doughnut is made? It is basically sugar mixed with flour, fried in saturated fats and then sprinkled with more sugar! Far out. This is one food that really shouldn’t even be eaten as a treat and yet we see people (especially in the USA) eating them on a daily basis.

5. Deli meat
While I am not big on any meat the meats that you buy at the deli are particularly bad. They have been sitting in that cooled cabinet for a long time and are laced with preservatives and other additives. I always laugh when bodybuilders tell me they get their lunchtime protein by having a sandwich with some compound turkey. That stuff is sugary and very bad for your health.

6. Chinese food
I love Chinese food. It is my favorite. However, you have to find that right place to eat it. Usually it is full of MSG and other dodgy substances. Usually the places that cook it in five minutes and pack it into a little box are pretty bad. Try to find a traditional place that is run by a small family. Generally they cook according to the family custom and this is much better for you.

7. KFC
If you made a promise to pick one fast food joint to never visit again it should be KFC. The chicken is terribly bad for your body. They chickens are given hormones and raised in terrible conditions. Most of the food is fried in fat and served with salt and other spices we don’t know the origin of. After all, they are secret! Don’t get me started on the mashed “potato”.

8. Beer
How many beers do you have per week? Beer is basically empty calories with carbs. Not good for weight control. However, the process that your body uses to get rid of the beer also can cause some problems.

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4 Fastest Ways to Develop Extreme Fitness that Will Blow Away All of Your Friends

Extreme fitness is defined (by me!) as fitness that is beyond the expert level. It is like a professional athlete or a warrior in the old days – they go above and beyond what even advanced traners expect of themselves.

This type of training is brutal. It is the type of training that makes you sweat and brings you to tears. It is the type of training that leaves you sore for the rest of the week.

This is the type of running drill I am talking about and it is only with these drills that you will develop extreme fitness.

1. Distance sprints

Distance sprints are based on the idea of running for your life. They are done as if you were under pressure and had to run as fast as you can for as long as you can. It is intense and gut wrenching.

A good way to do this is go to your local oval and do a long warm up. Once you are ready sprint off around the track as if you were running from a crazed murderer. Imagine that if you stop he will catch you and cut off your ears! You should try to maintain the sprint as long as you can without slowing down at all. This is one way to develop extreme fitness.

2. Hill sprinting

If you can run up a steep hill at your fastest pace without slowing down then you have extreme levels of fitness. This is the hardest form of cardio in the world, bar nothing. I honestly believe that this is the fastest way to develop fitness that will blow away all of your friends.

Find a steep hill and do a big warm up. Proceed to sprint up the hill as fast as you can without stopping. Once you get to the top walk back down and as soon as you hit the bottom run up it again. Imagine you are chasing to save a loved one or reach your life’s goal at the top. If you use mental aids like this you will proceed much faster.

You can also add a backpack full of weight to make this exercise even more intense.

3. The beep test

If you have done high school physical education you will have done this annoying test. In high school I hated it. Now I still hate it. However, I know it can bring some amazing benefits so I put up with it.

The beep test is an audio tape that you play while you run between two markers. You have to time yourself so that you touch a marker when the beep sounds. As time goes on the beeps get faster and faster and faster and it becomes so much harder to keep up. It is a perfect system for making sure your fitness improves each time you do it.

You do not have to own a beep tape to do this test. You just need to set up two points about 10 metres away and sprint in between them making sure you go faster each time instead of slowing down.

4. 20 second dashes

This is something my friend and I used to do in college. We would go to the park and after a long warm up spend about 10 minutes doing 20 second dashes. It goes like this.

You are going to use 15 seconds of the 20 seconds to sprint and then 5 seconds to rest. You do not get any more or any less and you have to keep this up for as long as you can.

If you do this once a week your fitness levels will go through the roof. It sounds simple on paper but it really is one of the most difficult drills I have ever done.

Conclusion

Try one of these drills once a week for a month and see what happens to your fitness levels. After a while start increasing how often you do them and how long you do them for. These are some of the best methods for developing extreme fitness.

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Introducing the Newest an Army Style Abs Workout

When you think of the Army you think of extreme workouts, amazing fitness and grueling exercise sessions. You think of the fittest of the fittest. And their abs are no different. They are strong, powerful and usually very ripped.

An Army style abs workout

Although I have never been in the army myself, I have often drawn inspiration from the way they train. I love the way they workout. Every session is extreme and they give 100% at all times. Even on the days that they don’t feel like working out they get out of bed and do the work anyway. It is very tough work.

I am particularly interested in how they develop their abdominal muscles. I have talked to several current and ex army members who say that they abs workouts that they used to have to do were tougher than almost anything else. Core strength was considered very important.

Here I will take a look at some of the exercises and techniques used in the army to blast the abdominal muscles and develop soldier quality six packs.

1. Massive numbers of repetitions
One of the traditional ways that soldiers in the army are taught to train their abs is with massive number of repetitions. For example, a solider might train his abs by doing 100 crunches in a row without stopping. They might not all be done with perfect technique but they are done with intensity and energy.

The idea behind this type of training is to build up muscle strength as well as endurance. If you are carrying a massive backpack, gun and what not through a battle field you need to be strong as well as fit and these huge numbers of reps are one way that the army prepares the troops for this.

This type of training is suited to many abdominal exercises such as the crunch, sit up, leg raise, knee raise, etc. It is a great supplement to a normal abs workout and can really shock your abs into some new growth.

2. Mixing it up with stations
Another popular method of abs training in the army is to set up stations. This is a very grueling method of working your abs and often results in a soldier passing up what he ate for breakfast.

Stations are pretty simple. The idea is to set up “stations” where the soldier goes to in order to perform an abs exercise. He moves from one station to the next without stopping until he has completed each station. Only then can he have a short rest.

For example, you could have five stations:

STATION 1: Crunches
STATION 2: Reverse Crunches
STATION 3: Leg Raises
STATION 4: Bicycle Crunches
STATION 5: Short Rest

The idea is to make your way through the stations without stopping. Each time you do it you should increase the number of reps or the number of times you do the station. This way you can make sure you are progressing.

3. Complete exhaustion training
Another way the army likes to train its soldiers is by making them participate in exercise sessions that bring them to the point of complete exhaustion. Once they get to that point they are then kindly asked to keep going. This is how a solider is built.

This applies to the abs as well. For example, you can pick one exercise like the crunch and do it flat out as many times as you can for half and hour. Or, you can take another approach and hold a crunch for as long as you can. See if you can stay in the crunch position for five minutes at a time and then try to beat that time.

Conclusion

I hope this article has given you some ideas for your abs training. The marines and army troops train hard for their superior strength and toned bodies. However, this is not out of our reach. All we have to do is start training like them. These are just some of the ways that the army develops some boot camp style abs.

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10 Things You Should Never Do at the Gym

When you are at the gym there are certain unspoken rules. In this article I want to take a quick look at some things you should never do at the gym.

10 Things you should never do at the gym

Next time you are working out at the gym try to remember these little gems.

1. Never leave the bench sweaty
So many times I get on the bench only to find it wasn’t wiped down properly. Most gyms have a rule that you have to carry a towel but the towel doesn’t work if you don’t use it. Make sure you wipe down everything after you use it.

2. Never use weights without warming up
Hitting the weights without warming up is one of the biggest noob mistakes you can make. You will injure yourself and have a lot worse a workout as your muscles will not be sufficiently pumped. Make sure you warm up with light weights or at least some cardio.

3. Never talk to me while I’m lifting
I really don’t like it when people come over to me and chat while I am trying to hold the weight of a car over my head. It is dangerous! Any other time I am happy to have a chat, just not when I am lifting. Wait until the set is over then come say hi.

4. Never hog a machine
The gym is busy enough as it is without selfish loners hogging the best equipment. If you aren’t using it then stand the hell up and make room for someone else to come in. There is nothing wrong with sharing a machine while you take your rest.

5. Never let the staff muck you around
The staff at gyms have a reputation for being lazy. They sit behind the entrance desk all day and do nothing. All they do is scan your tag and take your name. They are bored. And they like to use that laziness to annoy the gym members.

A good example would be when it was 45 degrees celcius in my home town last summer and the girls behind the desk turned the gym air conditioning off because they were cold sitting there! What about the rest of us?!

You pay a lot of money for that membership so make sure you are getting what you pay for.

6. Never shower without thongs on
Many different kinds of people go to the gym. Young people, old people, people with infections. Make sure you use thongs when you take a shower otherwise you might find you have a nice new wart or tinnea.

7. Never get off the treadmill while its still moving
Treadmills are usually in high demand at the gym. For this reason people try to get off them as soon as they can to make room for the person waiting. However, do not get off the treadmill until it has come to a complete stop. I have seen some pretty nasty (funny) accidents where people get onto a treadmill without realizing that it is still slowing down. Trip. Headache.

8. Never workout without a drink
It is really important to take water or some drink with you to the gym. The machines are very effective and often leave you feeling light headed and exhausted. This can be amplified if you don’t have a drink with you as you dehydrate very fast.

9. Never stare at the hot girl
We all like to take a peek at the girl with the smokin’ body but you really shouldn’t look for too long. Why? Because 9 times out of 10 her boyfriend is on the machine right next to you. Those hot gym girls always have boyfriends.

10. Turn your friggin mobile off
“Hey! Johnny! Wassup man? Yeah that girl was so hot man! Yeah I know.” We have all heard the dude on the phone talking super loud like this. He thinks no one else is around. Well dude – there are other people around so shut up and turn it off.